Essential skills for superior wave-riding performance: A systematic review

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Journal of strength and conditioning research





First Page


Last Page


PubMed ID



Wolters Kluwer


School of Medical and Health Sciences


Australian Research Training Program Scholarship


Forsyth, J. R., Riddiford-Harland, D. L., Whitting, J. W., Sheppard, J. M., & Steele, J. R. (2020). Essential skills for superior wave-riding performance: A systematic review. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 34(10), 3003-3011. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000003402


Forsyth, JR, Riddiford-Harland, DL, Whitting, JW, Sheppard, JM, and Steele, JR. Essential skills for superior wave-riding performance: A systematic review. J Strength Cond Res 34(10): 3003-3011, 2020-To successfully and safely perform surfing maneuvers, surfers and their coaches need to know how to perform each maneuver correctly. Although some components of the sport are well understood, evidence-based recommendations in the scientific literature on how to perform surfing skills are sparse. The aim of this article was to systematically review the body of literature pertaining to discrete wave-riding skills and characteristics that are associated with the ability of surfers to successfully perform them. Searches of PubMed, SCOPUS, SPORTDiscus with Full-text, and Web of Science were undertaken in January 2019, to identify the most appropriate literature, with secondary searches of reference lists used to create a greater pool of possible articles. The review was conducted following the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analysis Protocols (PRISMA-P). Ten studies deemed appropriate for review captured data from 299 surfers, who were predominantly competitive (78.3%) and male (58.2%). The average Down and Black Quality Index of the articles was 76.3 ± 8.4%, with these articles focusing on the "pop-up" and landing skills. Performance indicators, such as isometric push-up peak forces, force-plate derived and in-water time to pop-up, relative peak forces generated when landing and time-to-stabilization, were all shown to be related to the physical characteristics of surfers and could affect the ability of surfers to successfully ride a wave. Findings from the studies included in this review suggest that the pop-up and landing exhibit trainable qualities that coaches and athletes can use to improve surfing performance.